Monday, July 28th32.2°C
21452
21739

Online escort killer convicted

Loud cheers and sobs broke the calm of the courtroom Friday as a Detroit-area man was convicted of killing four women in his basement and stuffing their bodies in car trunks after he met them through online escort ads.

Police said James Brown killed the women in pairs, just days apart, at his Sterling Heights home in December 2011 while his mother was upstairs. The bodies were left miles (kilometres) away in a Detroit neighbourhood. Two were burned beyond recognition when a car was set on fire.

Brown, 25, was convicted of first-degree murder, arson and disinterment of a body after a three-week trial in Macomb County court. He faces life in prison with no chance for parole when he returns on April 15.

"I wish they had the electrocutin' chair. I want a life for a life. He needs to die," said Chikita Madison, the mother of one victim and the aunt of another.

Denise Higgins, the mother of another victim, said: "Why God has put us through this, I don't understand."

The jury deliberated less than four hours over two days after Thursday's closing arguments. Judge James Biernat Jr. told spectators to keep a lid on their emotions, but the warning didn't stop some family members and friends from loudly expressing delight as the verdict was read.

"Yes!" one man yelled after the first of 10 guilty verdicts was announced by the jury foreman.

The women who were killed were Renisha Landers, Demesha Hunt, Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary, all in their 20s. They met Brown through Backpage.com, which carries personal ads for people looking for sex.

"I told her this was not a suitable way of meeting a guy," Higgins said, referring to McCrary. "There are sick people out there."

Authorities found Brown's DNA under the nails of two victims and tiny drops of blood from another were on a pillow and a door in his basement. He made incriminating statements to police about getting rid of the bodies, although he denied any role in their deaths.

Doctors who performed autopsies believe the women were asphyxiated by Brown, but they couldn't declare an exact cause of death. Defence attorney Jeff Cojocar repeatedly made that point to the jury.

The Canadian Press

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments on this story are pre-moderated. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.



Read more World News




Recent Trending





22439

21761


21918



World Quick Links World Discussion Forum
United Nations
World Health Organization
UNESCO
World Trade Organization
NATO
European Union
The Commonwealth
Francophonie
Olympics
Google Earth


Member of BC Press Council


22700